Liverpool v Newcastle – The Preview
Match day 17 arrives at Anfield this week, with a busy period of the Premier League on going. Newcastle make their second away trip in a few days, and will be hoping Liverpool’s recent form takes a turn for the worse.
Eddie Howe has perhaps the hardest job in the Premier League right now, and after Sunday’s 4-0 defeat to Leicester, he may be inclined to fear the worst. The 4-4-2 system used in that loss will surely see system changes incoming. The ease of their demise last time out cannot be repeated, with their ongoing inability to defend with structure could play right into Jürgen Klopp’s hands.
Federico Fernandez and Paul Dummett are injured, and the likely changes will probably see Matt Richie and Ryan Fraser recalled. A more solid 4-5-1 system is probable, therefore one of last weekends starting forwards may miss out. Newcastle have yet to find their new required rhythm, and the transfer window cannot come soon enough for Howe. A deep block is likely, and if they choose to pass their way out of defence against this Liverpool side, it will be at their peril.
Liverpool welcomed back Roberto Firmino and Curtis Jones to full training this week, and they may feature at some point from the bench. Harvey Elliott remains sidelined, and Divock Origi misses out also. Liverpool travel to White Hart Lane this Sunday, therefore it could see multiple changes for the reds.
Ibrahima Konaté will be hoping to start, and Kostas Tsimikas is also in contention. The midfield options are varied, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain likely to feature once more. James Milner is also in contention, along slide Naby Keïta, and the front three may will surely see Diogo Jota reclaim his centre forward role.
It’s hard to see anything but a Liverpool win here, with Newcastle simply unable to contain overwhelming sides. The Geordies are yet to show they can live with the big teams this season, and their frailties will be tested to the maximum at Anfield. With Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane continual starters, it could be that Klopp chooses to enforce his will early, and take the game away from the opposition.
With so much firepower and options at Liverpool’s disposal, this forthcoming Anfield night could see goals galore. The history of this fixture has seen some fascinating score lines down the years, but the gulf between the two may now be too big for Newcastle to truly compete. With all points so vital to Liverpool and Newcastle (for differing reasons), complacency is the reds biggest threat here. How the game begins could well prove decisive, and Newcastle will need to hold firm, if they are to live with the inevitable threat coming their way.
Player to watch – Mohamed Salah
Liverpool 4 – 0 Newcastle